THE estimated cost of re-establishing a direct bus link from Kelso to Edinburgh would be £90,000 a year, a town councillor has been informed.

Kelso & District councillor Euan Robson expressed his concerns at the current bus service provision from the town to the capital at a recent meeting of Scottish Borders Council (SBC).

In response councillor Jenny Linehan, SBC’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “A direct bus between Kelso and Edinburgh would require an additional vehicle to be added to the existing peak vehicle requirement.

“It is estimated it would cost an additional £90,000 per annum for one return journey per day in order to be commercially viable.

“That vehicle would require to transport 36,000 passengers per annum at an average fare of around about £2.50. This would equate to 57 passengers per journey or 115 passengers per day.

“Implementing this service would compete directly with the existing 67 and 51 connection and would likely impact upon patronage on those services.

“The current connection between 51 and the 67 adds about 20 minutes to the current journey time.”

In response, Mr Robson said the current 51 service was “almost unusable”.

He explained: “That’s because of the severe delays that are incurred from time to time because of the congestion in Edinburgh and constituents are waiting at a new changeover point in Newtown St Boswells, where the bus shelter is cold, there are no adjacent toilet facilities and it is dark, particularly in winter, to such an extent that people are being deterred from using the 51 service.

“Is there a cost-effective way of improving the service because at the current time people are contacting me to say they are going to cease to use it and it will only mean the 51 service becomes less and less viable?”